Biden Administration Makes First Major Move to Regulate Greenhouse Gases


Environmental groups described the new regulation as critical to putting the United States on a path to cut emissions 50 percent to 52 percent from 2005 levels by the end of this decade, as Mr. Biden has promised, and to keeping the planet from warming beyond a dangerous threshold.

“Moving from HFCs to climate-friendlier alternatives is an important part of President Biden’s plan to meet the climate crisis,” said David Doniger, senior strategic director of the climate and clean energy program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Senator Tom Carper, Democrat of Delaware, said the E.P.A. rule would create jobs.

“This is a slam dunk, plain and simple,” Mr. Carper said in a statement. “Phasing down HFCs will support American leadership in manufacturing and innovation, bring down global temperatures, strengthen our economy, and help save our planet,” he said.

Among the few critics of the new policy was the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank that disputes the idea that climate change poses a major threat to the United States. The organization issued a statement saying reducing HFCs would drive up the costs of new refrigerators and air-conditioners as well as the prices of repairing old ones.

Industry officials dispute that, noting that the refrigerant compound represents about 1 percent of the price of the cost of a cooling appliance. Francis Dietz, vice president of public affairs at the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, also pointed out that manufacturers have years of experience phasing out coolants that have later turned out to be harmful.

Alternatives already are being produced, he said, but until the E.P.A. regulation goes into effect, there is not a large enough market for them in the United States.

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“We have been dealing with this idea that it’s going to raise costs forever,” Mr. Dietz said. “We do not agree.”



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